Trombone History: Six Early 17th Century Images from Antwerp

The first 2 images below are paintings I just added to the Early 17th Century Timeline. One thing that has become apparent is that there is a grouping of several similar paintings from this era by a small handful of artists based in Antwerp (see also the images below the first 2 paintings in this post; for more information on individual images, see Timeline). A few things stand out about this set of images. First, many of the paintings are collaborative, a practice that was relatively common (Haeften 8). Second, it is evident that all of the works are allegorical (or mythological) in nature. Third, in every case, the trombone is pictured in the foreground resting on the ground instead of being played. Finally, as mentioned elsewhere, many of the depictions of the trombone seem to be quite similar, almost as if they were stock images.

Van Balen senses detailc. 1617—Antwerp, Belgium: Hendrick van Balen and Jan Brueghel collaborate on a painting called An Allegory of the Five Senses, which includes a trombone among several instruments in the foreground (see facing detail; public domain) (Haeften, pl. 8). For other depictions of the trombone by the same painter, see c. 1610 (Banquet of the Gods), c. 1615 (Minerva among the Muses), and c. 1625 (Allegory of Music).

Kessel 2 detailc. 1640—Antwerp, Belgium: Jan van Kessel’s Allegory of Hearing depicts a room with numerous instruments, including a trombone leaning against a stool (see facing detail; public domain). The image is similar to a painting on which the artist collaborated with Hendrik van Balen and Jan Brueghel (see c. 1625, above).

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Additional paintings from Early 16th Century Antwerp that include trombone:

Van Balen, Banquet of the Gods

Van Balen, Banquet of the Gods

Van Balen, Minerva among the Muses

Van Balen, Minerva among the Muses

Brueghel and Rubens, Allegory of Music

Brueghel and Rubens, Allegory of Music

Van Kessel, Van Balen, and Brueghel, Allegory of Music

Van Kessel, Van Balen, and Brueghel, Allegory of Music

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